Sweet Becca Jean

She tragically passed away two years ago today. She was young, 22, she was vibrant and she was just beginning her life after graduating from college a few weeks earlier. She was my sister-in-law, the only sibling-in-law I had at the time. Which made her the only Aunt to my son on that side.

I’ve wanted to write about her for quite some time now, honor her life. Remember the stories. How I wish I’d written down the stories sooner, now that it’s later they’ve been slipping away slowly. That’s what happens.


How I’ve never laughed harder than the time I complimented her romper, and she with a smile from-ear-to-ear, turns to me and says, “Oh this? It’s not a romper, it’s just stuck in my ass!” Then she chuckled her contagious laugh, and we would laugh about it for days to come. So many stories, so many laughs.

Originality. One of her boldest qualities.

The sharp knife of a short life. These were lyrics to a song that became popular shortly before the incident. How that song would come on my radio while driving and the tears would fall. That knife was too sharp. And that life too short. I’d think of her, remember her innocence.

I am also too grateful to know that now she is in a better place, being taken care of, being celebrated. Her soul rejoicing in pure happiness. No distractions now, just pure love.

Sweet Becca Jean.

I see her often, as I see and feel so much of her in Holden. Her mannerisms, her body. The way his mouth moves when he eats, when he kisses. Some of his looks. Most of his looks. Those one-second glimpses he can give when his eyes meet mine; chills run down my spine as I feel her presence. His own guardian angel.


Becca was known to make others feel good about themselves. Always complimenting, always encouraging. Sticking by your side. This was no different in the way that she treated me from the moment we met. Her love for me didn’t lessen over the years but became even more apparent when I became a mother. Always telling me, “Sami, you’re such a great mom. Holden is so lucky to have you.”

She took to me. She loved me.

Not long after her passing, Holden and I moved home. In a matter of days, time unraveled itself quickly. I left my marriage.

As mentioned in Rock Bottom and the Inner Journey, one of my earliest posts, I very possibly may have felt this presence for the first time, not long after moving home. Upon seeing a butterfly flutter and feeling the sunshine on my face… I felt hope when I needed it the most. The warmness of her heart still radiating. Still caring for me, still caring for Holden.

How little I know about her role, what her purpose had been in this lifetime. I’m not God. But what I do know is that that role was much bigger than what she would have thought she was capable of- especially when it came to affecting my life, Holden’s life. Much greater than any one of us could understand. She helped me during days no one else could, and that was after she was gone. And I pray that she knows I’m thankful for that.




Hi readers,

Sorry for the mess of confusion when it comes to the recent inactivity of my blog! I have officially switched servers, and after many hours of copying and pasting (much more than was used during college term papers), my new site is available.

Adventures of a Twenty-Something Single Mom. And, the hyphen does make a difference!

So, I hope you stay tuned and keep reading. You also can now “follow” the site, by clicking the little follow tab at the bottom of the screen. If you’d like to enter your email, you will be automatically updated with a new post without waiting for the facebook page to inform you. However you may wish to read is fine with me- to each their own! I am still honored that people keep up as it is.

Welcome any new readers also! I guess now would be a good time to tell you thank you.

As I was transferring all my posts, I saw the evolution within myself from when I started writing my experiences down last year. Just two years ago, the life I knew fell apart. I filed for divorce when my son was five months old. I battled depression and terrible bouts with anxiety in response. It’s been a long and winding road. Much more winding than long though! And now, 2 years later, I sit here with a smile upon my face. My journey began the moment I decided to leave the life I thought I had behind. You have only one way to go when you reach rock bottom.

I am in a very good place. I love my life, and I could only say that once I decided to love myself again. It took a bit to get there, but once I did it made all the difference. What I hope is that people who are also finding themselves at rock bottom realize that if I can do it, they can too. I hope the words I have shared thus far along in my journey provide empathy in emotions, laughter when there’s nothing else to do, and lots of entertainment when it comes to sharing stories of one super funny two-year old I happen to know very well.

So keep posted, keep reading and laughing (or crying), and keep messaging! I love to hear from those of you who do end up getting something out of my blog.



I was kidding about those college term papers.



It’s no secret Holden is delayed on speech. I’ve mentioned before how he goes to speech therapy twice a week, and a few weeks ago he had tubes put into his ears. As of recently though, he really has started to verbalize more. Though we are still working on shaping the words.

Even though the words are coming slowly, comprehension has never been an issue. He can fully understand what you tell him. You can see it on his face. And he will do exactly what’s being asked. Well, unless mommy is doing the asking.

So, it’s no surprise that when the words do come out, the context is dead on.

Just like when he said “I GOT IT!” His first sentence a few weeks ago as he got a puzzle piece to fit in the right spot at speech therapy.

He’s been using this sentence in every situation possible. Like when he fits the DVD in the player, shoots both arms up and yells it out. Or when he makes a hoop with a basketball. Even when he turns a page in his book.

Though all of these situations in which he uses this sentence become music to my ears, I have to admit my favorite use of this context was last week. We were driving home from my parents’ house after dinner.

He yelled it ever so proudly. “I GOT IT!!!!”

I looked in the rear-view mirror, saw his gleaming smile from ear-to-ear. And he was giving a thumbs up with one massive booger right on top.


Favorite small business #3

Alexandra Mainieri, LLC


Photo by Sid Seruntine

This is my sister. She’s beautiful, she’ sweet, and she’s a bit sassy. You should probably hire her to do your event makeup.

You will probably walk away with more than just a pretty face. Because she’s personable. She’s insightful. Interested in your own happiness.

When Alex isn’t busily working away as a makeup artist on a movie set, you can find her promoting her new business Alexandra Mainieri, LLC. A licensed Aesthetician and certified makeup artist, Alex uses all that she’s learned through the Aveda Institute and California Makeup School to deliver perfection from a pallet. A true artist at work. So, if you’re a reader in the Baton Rouge / New Orleans area and in need of some expertise, holla at my sista.

Find her website at http://alexandramainieri.com/  and like her facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AlexandraMainieriLLC?fref=ts .

Alex is my go-to expert for beauty tips. She’s been trying to enhance me for years. I think that’s the role of the little sister. You don’t argue, you just do whatever the big sister wants you to. Even if it hurts. Thanks for trying, Alex.


I just had to get my eyebrows waxed at a young age because Alex was doing it. Wanted to always be like her. The problem was we got them done by “Shelia.” Yes, that was the exact problem. And in a questionable location in town. Mom insisted Shelia was our friend. Here we are, years and years later. Those eyebrows never quite grew back. We both blame Shelia. And Mom.

We also blame mom for some questionable apparel selections in our dress-up chest.


Growing up with Alex had its moments. Primarily because of the innate wad of jealousy carried in most younger sisters’ stomachs as soon as they’re born. I reminisce on the time we both tried out for the Nutcracker. Alex got the part of the beautiful angel child who got to deliver to flowers to Clara at the end of the show. And me? Me? I got the part of the clown. The left-handed clown who came out of Mother Ginger’s skirt doing kart-wheels across the stage. And Mother Ginger’s stilts? She wasn’t on stilts under that skirt. She was sitting atop the shoulders of a very sweaty Chinese man who was cussing under that skirt the whole time in front of all of us clown kids, the rejects.


I think it’s safe to say that growing up so close in age (16 months apart), we weren’t always the best of friends. Partially because Alex was never too keen on sharing with her baby sister. It wasn’t cool.

I was scarred for life when Alex, and our cousin Danielle together left me out of their lip-syncing home video of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achey Breaky Heart. I will have my revenge at her future rehearsal dinner when i reveal that exact video in hi-def.


She always had the prettier ballerina costumes. She also had a way smaller forehead than I was blessed with. She always got to lick the brownie batter from the bowl. Such better clothes and toys too. Well Alex, all those times when you weren’t home and left your door shut, I’d sneak in and wear those exact costumes. I’d snoop around your room, play JockJams on your boom box. I’d lay on your bed that had the bed-in-a-bag from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, that I wanted so badly with the yellow flowers and pink swirls. I’d try on your earrings sitting at your vanity. I’d snoop through your drawers and wear the charm bracelet from your boyfriend. Finally, the best part I’d save for last. I’d open your closet and see it. Top shelf, the highest spot to keep safe from little sisters. It was so beautiful, and it was calling my name.

Mall Madness. There it was. The lights from heaven were shining on it, and I could hear the “allelujah” song erupt.


This was the ultimate board game for girls. Especially superficial ones like me. You could swipe all the credit cards. It was good practice for when I’d become an adult. I’d carefully open the box and lay out all the pieces, swiping card after card. I preferred it much more than the Sweet Valley High board game underneath it. I couldn’t even open that box as I was tortured all those times she did allow me to play that one with her, only so she could dub me as “Enid” or something like that. Whoever it was, it was the unpopular one with the green background. She’d always be the pretty blonde “Jessica” in pink of course. Because you were older you’d say. This was your rationale for lots of things- like riding in the front seat.

The high school years were ugly. I’m not referring to our acne, dental work, or crooked eyebrows either. Though, those were just as ugly. Our relationship was ugly, especially because we had to share a bathroom. You’d lock me out for hours before school started, only to emerge with the most beautifully tussled hair with a cut like Jennifer Aniston. I’d be lucky to get one quick comb through my bowl cut before we were out the door.

There was that one time I had so much anger built up inside me that I finally snapped. It was a freezing nothern Indiana winter day. Mom wasn’t home. I was tired of Alex “claiming” the TV room (because she was older) day after day before I even had a chance after coming home exhausted from school. I, with determination in my eyes and lips gripping my braces, darted towards her. Straight to Alex laying on the couch and… Smack! Slapped her right in the face. VICTORY! Though, the shortest victory ever lived. Within an instant, though it felt like slow motion, Alex looked at me with an expression that conveyed she couldn’t believe I had actually gone through with it. Her temperature was rising as she slowly started to arise from the couch. This was my chance. I booked it. I was almost to the top of the stairs when I felt the lock around my ankles stop me in my tracks. She had grabbed them and was hovering behind me. I had no time to think as she pulled me down the stairs, chin hitting every step. I prayed we’d never get to the bottom because I didn’t want to know what was coming. In fact, it must have been so traumatic because I don’t remember what happened after she sat on top of me once reaching the bottom. I must have purged it from my memory.

There was also that time I threw my retainer box right at her head when we had to share a cabin on a cruise. I vividly remember she didn’t want her little sister tagging along to the “night club” for pre-teens. Sorry for that.

In time, Alex and I did become closer, supportive. No more jealousy swam in my veins towards her for being prettier and cooler than me. My view of her wasn’t clouded anymore by the stigma of the younger sister. We became friends.

Though our college years were spent apart, our relationship stayed strong, knowing we were both a phone call away though in different worlds. I started to realize a quality that existed in Alex I may have not noticed before. That quality? Loyalty. Unshaken, strong loyalty. For me, and for anyone else in my family. I accredit this loyalty with Alex’s obsession with The Godfather series and our strong Italian heritage.

Mom and Alex took a spring break trip during one of these years. While on the beach, some kid threw a ball right at mom’s head. Within seconds, Alex immediately picked the ball up and pelted it right back at the thrower, yelling at him for hitting her mom. She was my hero.

The loyalty didn’t hinder as the years passed by, it strengthened in every experience. Protecting me. Protecting my naiveness from the corrupted world around. Never judging a decision made by me, but always supporting every one.

That loyalty especially came into play a couple years ago, as I found myself filing for divorce with a five-month-old son. Alex was there. Crying with me, holding me. Helping me with the baby. Reassuring me that my life would move on, that none of it was my fault. An even bigger aid in my healing than I’ve probably ever thanked her for.

We’d laugh so badly until we’d cry listening to her imaginative rants about just how far she’d go to protect me. I remember those conversations vividly as they were amongst the first times I laughed again. With one look, I’d see her temperature rise thinking of a hypothetical situation and what she’d do about it, much like the same face I got back in the day in reaction to me slapping her right on the face.

She’s the perfect combination of sass and a sweet soul, and she always has been. Even beneath all those bitter, hilarious memories of our childhood.

Alex really does inspire me. Despite our rocky relationship in the first half of our lives. Kidding though; it really wasn’t that bad between us. I have pictures to prove it. Though, I do sort of feel like there just must have been a camera present to capture these “one time” moments of occurences.


Like, the one time she did share the brownie batter.


Or the one time she actually let me dress up in her pretty ballerina costume. Even to play with her! Not having to sneak into her room and try it on when she wasn’t home. And pretend I was getting to play with her. This was the real deal.


Or the one time we actually were hugging. I don’t know if it was genuine or if it was because we had new sets of “Quints” waiting for us in our Easter basket.


And finally, when Alex let me be Princess Jasmine, and she Aladdin during playtime. The only giveaway to what this little picture was about was our magic carpet.

In retrospect, it seems like Alex was easily and always my biggest fan regardless of my memories. How time changes things, because now, I’m her’s.